Cyprus Legal Information
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea , with an area of 9,251 square kilometres. It is strategically located in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa . Its total population is estimated at 1.1 million (July 2010) of whom approximately 800,000 live the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus and the remainder in the occupied area.
The island was invaded in 1974 by the Turkish army and about 37% of the territory remains under Turkish occupation. The so-called Turkish Republic of North Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey , and all the references in this brochure to Cyprus relate to the legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus . While political uncertainty continues to surround "the Cyprus problem", and it is hoped that there will be a satisfactory resolution in the near future, day-to-day business life is unaffected by the issue.
Cyprus is very well placed as an international business and financial centre. Apart from its strategic geographical location, relaxed way of life and attractive climate, it offers an excellent commercial infrastructure, a highly educated English-speaking labour force, a business-friendly environment, particularly in the area of taxation, a high standard of living and a low rate of crime. Living costs are moderate, and good airline connections and telecommunications and increasing alignment with the European position in matters of culture and trade make it an effective bridge between West and East. Its time zone is 7 hours ahead of New York , 2 hours ahead of London , 1 hour behind Moscow and 5 hours behind Beijing . The official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is the lingua franca of business.
Cyprus is an independent, sovereign republic with a presidential system of government and a written constitution which safeguards the rule of law, political stability, human rights and the ownership of private property. Cyprus has been a member of the European Union since 1 May 2004.
In preparation for EU membership Cyprus made significant structural and economic reforms that transformed its economic landscape and created a modern, open and dynamic business environment.
Since accession, Cyprus has successfully faced the challenge of European integration, and has established itself as the natural portal for inward and outward investment between the EU and the rest of the world, particularly the rapidly-growing economies of Russia , Eastern Europe , India and China . Cyprus is a member of the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe, the IMF, the UN, the World Bank and the WTO, and a founder member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe .
On 1 January 2008 Cyprus adopted the euro as its currency.
The legal system, modelled on the English common law system since independence in 1960, is harmonised with the acquis communautaire of the EU. Cyprus is a signatory to a large number of international conventions and treaties, including an extensive network of more than 40 double taxation treaties.
Cyprus is a low-tax jurisdiction whose fiscal and regulatory regimes are aligned with EU norms, particularly the Code of Conduct for Business Taxation, and fully satisfy the requirements of the OECD, the Financial Action Task Force of the OECD and the Financial Stability Forum. It has been on the OECD White List of jurisdictions complying with international best practice since its inception. The regulatory framework is designed to maintain the respectable and responsible reputation of Cyprus while allowing businesses to conduct their activities in an environment as free as possible from onerous bureaucratic restrictions.
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